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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  December 3, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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last time. somebody may actually reach a deal on tacks and spending on the upper income people and those who vitally depend on things like social security and medicare and medicaid. they should consider who won and who needs to be considered here. why? because the nobodies is the big shots like they call them also have a stake in how this deal gets cut. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. change, chris, and a thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, holiday spirit gop style. later tonight, gop leaders are expected at the white house for a christmas party. it should be a festive event. maybe they will share some egg nog with the president. maybe sing some christmas carols. maybe some good cheer will be in the air, or maybe not. it might be a bit tough after the republican's new debt offer.
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for weeks they have called the white house plan a nonstarter. the gop republican in the senate reportedly laughed out loud, the leader of the gop and the senate laughed out loud when he heard about the president's plan and today speaker boehner said the white house plan was a, quote, a la-la land offer. well, earlier today the gop finally revealed its own proposal. it says that it offers $2.2 t l trillion in debt reduction and calls for the increasing the medicare eligibility age and social security on the table. gutting entitlements, check. but what about getting rid of the bush tax cuts for the upper income? you know the key point from the campaign? in a letter to the president, gop leaders said they will continue to oppose and will not agree to them.
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in fact, they propose not to raise tax rates for the wealthy but to lower them. that's from speaker boehner who said this about the president's plan. >> i was flabbergasted. i looked at him and said, you can't be serious. i've just never seen anything like it. >> never seen anything like it? the president won the election on that premise. but speaker boehner he seemses to have forgotten that. >> they must have forgot and then republicans continue to hold the majority in the house. but, you know, the president's idea of a negotiation is, roll over and do what i ask. we need to find common ground and we need to find it quickly. >> speaker boehner claimses he's looking for common ground. but right now he's not even in the right ballpark. his problem is that the political ground has shifted for him and his tea partyiers.
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joining me now is michelle cottle, washington correspondent for "newsweek "and "the daily beast" and ezra cline who is a policy analyst. thank you both for coming on the show tonight. >> thank you. >> thanks, rev. >> michelle, let me start with you. the president ran on raising taxes on the rich and he won on that premise. why didn't the gop get the message? >> oh, they got the message but this is high posturing season. they have to get in there and be as intransident as they possibly can. the president has said that he wants tax rates for the wealthy on the table. so they are just going to push this as far as they can. they are going to kick this can down the road again. >> now, ezra, you wrote today that speaker boehner's trying to
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call a mull lee began. what do you mean by that? >> i'm drawing on my very shallow message of golf. he wants a do-over here. so what speaker boehner's proposal is today, i give him some credit here, this is the most moderate proposal he's made in public by a long shot. he's taken the proposal that erskine bowles presented to the super committee as a compromise, now, it's not going to work today because that was a compromise from 2011 when republicans were in the driver side and main people say that you need to take this proposal. this was what david burke said in the "new york times" and said if you don't take it, you're going to end up with something much worse. it's a bit of progress that boehner is beginning essentially his opening bid is considered a compromise bid back in 2011. >> now, michelle, the politics of this seems to be potentially
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disastrous for the republicans. when you look at the fact that 82% of people polled oppose reducing social security benefits, 67% oppose raising medicare eligibility age, meanwhile, 60% support raising taxes on the wealthy. >> it's very important that people think about the fact that in theory americans like small government. but in practice when you start talking about popular programs, they get very, very snippy about you threatening to cut anything. so what we have here is a situation where they've taken -- the republicans have taken away the presidential talking point of, well, republicans don't have a plan. but they have not taken away the talking point of, well, republicans want to cut all this so that they can keep tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. and until they address that issue, i think from a perform r
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standpoint this could remain politically disastrous for them. >> now, ezra, they keep talking, they being the republicans, like this was a status quo election. but you wrote today that they are in a weaker position this time around and know it. you wrote, boehner opens his latest letter by reminding the president that 2012 was a status quo election in which both you and the republican in the minority in the house were re-elected. that's technically true and in every other way incorrect. the fact is that 2012 was a democratic rally in which democrats got more votes than the republicans at the presidential senate and house levels. that means republicans are in as far weaker position than they were in 2011 and boehner knows it, his newest offer is proof. what do you mean his newer offer is proof? >> in 2011, president obama, who felt and president obama and
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felt were on their heels, they were facing after with compromised proposal. deep in the obama boehner negotiations, they were talking about a proposal with 800 billion in revenue that would come through a somewhat tax reformed process. right now we're seeing the exact opposite. president obama is sticking firm with what he offered in his budget release, or at least in his opening bid and boehner is kind of chasing over obama with more or less compromised proposals saying, why won't you work with me, give more, sacrifice more? look, we're early here and most of the people i talk with in washington are saying we're not going to get deep into this until mid-december at least. if we do a process of kind of incrementally coming from in between the two proposals, you could very easily imagine between obama and boehner on tacks is $1.2 trillion. that's where they end up on mandatory spending, 750.
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that wouldn't be a shocker either. boehner's opening bid here is not the bid of the side in the stronger position. it's a side desperately trying to get the press to compromise. >> now, michelle whark we don't see in the counteroffer is extension of payroll tax cut, extension of unemployment, raising the debt ceiling. none of this is in their counteroffer. and bill kristol pointed out that ignoring the payroll tax cut, the gop is going to look like it doesn't care about the middle class. listen to bill kristol on this. >> they are at a real risk, in my view, of looking like they are defending -- kinding the current tax rates for the wealthy and they right now the official republican position is let the payroll tax cut go back up by two -- the republicans look like, i am worried, in a position of looking at this if
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they don't care about the middle class and only want to keep tax rates low for wealthy americans. >> i'm not one that usually agrees with kristol but clearly that gives them the image, michelle, that they were not fighting or not caring about the middle class. why would they leave this out? >> well, because they have to work these numbers somehow. and you have to look at what they are talking about. they don't want to touch tax rates at all. and so they are left kind of jiggling around the edges with tax reform and closing loopholes and things like that. they can't afford to extend these rates and kristol is not the only republican worried about this are sort of thing. there is a persistent pr problem with the party. you know, it just lost the last election because it couldn't kind of come to terms with its insistence and it's about to go down that same pr rabbit hole again with this proposal. >> ezra, wouldn't they know that
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this is a pr hold that is about to go down? why would they risk this, in your opinion? >> well, think about it more broadly from a bargaining standpoint. in particular, things like the payroll tax cut and any kind of stimulus that the republicans feel that they can eventually stomach, that's a great thing for them to trade away at the end. maybe they don't hate that much but know that president obama really wants. when you're late in the negotiations, that's when they are going to begin to give things like that up. as kind of band-aids to make things stick together. the other truth that is always worth remembering about boehner is that he tends to be -- maybe not at this very second, we're not sure -- but as afraid or more afraid of his right flank than the center. there's a pr nightmare and then there's losing your speakership because republicans feel like you gave away the farm during these negotiation.
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so boehner is always looking over his shoulder with an eye to the conservative base looking happy with him. >> well, all i can say is i hope they are having fun at the christmas party tonight. michelle cottle, ezra klein, thank you for your time tonight. >> thanks, rev. who is leading the republican party. we're learning more about what mitt romney is doing with his free time. i can tell you, it's not him. plus, more conflicts of interest over on fox news. wait until you hear the connection between a fox news pollster and paul ryan. and the stars were out in washington for the kennedy center honors and a few zingers. we'll show you the tape. you're watching "politicsnation" on msnbc. you want to win the world series, you quit when you're down 1-0? no. you keep going. do you quit when you're down 1-0
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have you joined the "politicsnation" conversation can on facebook yet? we hope you will. today our facebook family loved this photo of president obama on his laptop tweeting during the twitter question and answer session about the fiscal cliff. hugh says, no one makes better use of technology than our president. and mindy says, she loves the presidential seal on the cover of the laptop. i agree, mcimi. we've got more of speaker boehner's offer. first, we want to hear what you think. head over to facebook and search
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we're back on "politicsnation" with more on speaker boehner's counteroffer to president obama. the republican house leader wants $2.2 trillion in spending cuts. and how would he do it? republicans refuse to raise taxes on the rich. unbelievable. instead, they want to slash billions from health care, raise the medicare eligibility age and hack away billions from
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entitlement programs. these are their great compromises? doesn't seem like they've learned much from the election, which they lost. joining me now is senator bernie sanders, independent from vermont. senator, thank you for being here tonight. >> my pleasure. >> what's your reaction to the republican counteroffer? >> not only is what they are absurding absurd, i think they are crazy politically. i think when the people understand that they want to maintain tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, whose effective tax rate is very, very low and at the same time they want to balance the budget by cutting social security, medicare, and medicaid, i think people all over this country are going to say, you guys are nuts. you're really out of touch with what ordinary americans are thinking and believing. >> now, they are saying in their counteroffer, $800 billion
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through tax reform, 600 through health savings and 300 billion in further discretionary savings totalling $2.2 trillion in cuts. social security on the table. how many people say, well, it could be worse? it's not so bad? >> it's ridiculous. the way you respond from a moral perspective, if you're having middle income people seeing a decline in their standard of living, while the rich are getting richer, who should pick up the burden of deficit reduction? second of all, in terms of social security, social security hasn't contributed one nickel. >> at all. >> by the payroll tax. so why don't you want to drag social security in? thirdly, these people are talking about, if people can believe it, lowering, lowering tax rates for large corporations. what sense is that?
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the truth is, what the american people want and they have said in the election, you know, obama did win a major victory and the issue being debated was whether the wealthy are going to start paying their fair share of tacks what poll after poll says do not cut can social security and medicare and medicaid. ask the wealthy and large corporations to start paying their taxes. further, let's not forget, as a result of these rather bad agreements in 2010 and 2011, though i voted against, we've already cut a trillion dollars in programs for working families. >> you're right. the american people have said in the election as well as in the polling, 82% oppose reducing social security benefits. 67% oppose raising medicare eligibility age and 60% support raising taxes on the wealthy. so it doesn't even make political sense.
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>> that's what i don't get. and the other point, al, when they talk about changing the formula, so-called chain cpi for social security, let me tell you what it means. i want everybody to hear this. it means that if you're 65 today -- and this is going to go into effect immediately if they win this debate. >> okay. >> if you're 65, by the time you're 65 to 75, it will mean $560 a year less for somebody getting 14 or 15,000. by the time you're 85, it's 1,000 bucks. 1,000 bucks a year. and on top of that, al, people don't know this, we're talking about major cuts for disabled veterans. so we're going to maintain low tax rates for billionaires and we're going to cut benefits for disabled vets. who in america thinks that makes any sense at all? >> and throughout the campaign, senator, they said that they would protect seniors. listen to this. >> we're the ones who are offering a plan to protect
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medicare, to strengthen medicare. >> my mom is on medicare. we owe them a program they can count on. >> our program will protect seniors. >> now, this is what they said during the campaign. how can they come back now, put ryan back in the driver seat saying medicare is on the table, we're going to cut it. >> this is how they do it. their argument is that if you cut benefits, you will strengthen the lifetime existence of social security. that's their theory. you can cut now, strengthen. it trust me, by lifting the cap, for example, you can have social security strong. >> senator bernie sanders, thank you for being a fighter, first of all, for the middle class and then thank you for being here tonight. >> my pleasure. >> all right. coming up, failed
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presidential rick santorum has a new job and that new job says a lot about why republicans should get used to losing elections for a long time to come. and mitt romney in forced retirement. what his aides are saying he's up to. aspirin, really?
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it is the season to be jolly, which means that over at fox news, it's the season for the war on christmas. it's their annual holiday tradition. right up there with candy canes and jingle bells. >> you want to know what i really think? anybody who opposes the word "christmas" this time of year because it's a federal holiday is a loon. >> they are so nuts. they think there's this made-up war on christmas. we're not nuts, are we? >> no. >> we'll have christ back in christmas and hopefully it won't offend you. >> i'm not offended. amused, yes. but not offended. so this weekend fox tried to add some theological heft to the argument by bringing out a priest but it didn't exactly work out the way they planned. >> if our christmas is going to be all about getting upset at people who are trying to take
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away our christmas, isn't that silly, too? >> whoa. stop the show. did he say silly? i thought this was a war on christmas. apparently the good father wasn't buying it. >> i'm really happy to -- >> you guys seem really angry about this war on christmas. >> from silly to angry. i can't believe it. where is he getting these ideas? perhaps from another fox host who lost his cool last week while talking about a holiday treat. >> the polls show 90% of americans celebrate christmas and they want to call it a christmas tree. you're in the minority. you're imposing your will and making people unhappy in a season of joy. you're not doing the right thing, governor come on. you know i'm right. in your heart, you know i'm right. >> no, your show, fox news, you
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let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. the republicans lost the election and now they may be totally losing their way. the latest sign comes from former presidential candidate rick santorum. he was the runner up in the gop primary this year. he won 11 states. 11 states. total of 3.9 million republicans voted for him. they wanted him to be their guy. santorum has the inside track for 2016. since the gop has a long history of picking the runner up to be the nominee next time around. but now he's cast his lot with the crazies. santorum is signing on to be a
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columnist for the birther conspiracy website world net daily. these are the folks who think that the president may be a muslim or a kenyan or gay or even a muslim gay kenyan. in fact, here's what the site's founder has said about the president. >> what do god and barack obama have in common and his answer is neither one of them has a birth certificate. >> they didn't bother to verify it. they didn't bother to examine it in any way but everyone who has has come to the same conclusion, that's it's a phony, fraud u lent document. >> it's the fringe of the fringe of the right wing yet rick santorum this is his path to the white house. right now the gop desperately needs some real leadership. so where is mitt romney? he's out of sight at his house in california, totally cutting himself from the public and his
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party. "the washington post" says, quote, romney hangs around the house, sometimes alone, pecking away at his ipad, his rapid retreat into seclusion has been marked by repressed emotions, second guessing, and sustained boredom. it also says, romney has told friends he has no interest in helping the republican party rebuild and rebrand itself. so romney's gone, santorum has gone birther, and until something changes, the gop may be gone for good. joining me now is republican pollster christian saltise, vice president of the wednesday group. and erin mcpike, reporter with real clear politics. thank you both for joining me. >> thank you. >> thanks for having us. >> christian, let me start with you. is the gop in trouble as they
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figure things out? >> i think there's a lot of work to be done. so this 2012 election is proof that it's not 2004 again. we really got the best campaign that they had to offer. i think after getting shallacked, there was some inpro specs but now that they have been beaten twice, this is not the same electorate that we had eight years ago. i think republicans and to win elections in the future. >> now, erin, during this election, you covered governor romney a lot and now washington post tells us that he's in seclusion. according to "the washington post," i'm quoting them, he devours news from 2600 miles away in washington, shaking his
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head and wondering what if. yet friends insist romney is not bitter. erin, i'm just getting your react as somebody that covered him a lot. how do you read his new self-imposed seclusion? >> not surprising at all. this is a man who has just spent the last six years of his life running for president and towards the end of that campaign and john kerry was upset and al gore upset and mitt romney is just taking a breather and he may not have a big voice within
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the republican party and he might have a big voice on certain issues in the years to come. >> well, just as a point of information, i think al gore had a different view of the 2000 election but, anyway, let me go back to you, kristen. the gop's response to the election was all over the place but 25% of republicans want their state to succeecede. >> i don't think we're going to have a mass move of states. although i will agree with you, there are competing voices right now within the republican party about where do we go from here. and what the conservative movement might have had on the ticket and it's our turn to have our guy. you have a lot of moderates that
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say, we're backing extinct in the republican party. i don't know that either of those camps necessarily has it right. i think the problems with the republicans is that they need to talk more about the ideas that make their lives better. i don't think that ultimately you're going to see a lot of states seceding, though, or that the republican party will shift dramatically. >> so what do you think that they need to do, kristen? what would you tell them is the right cause? >> i think it's a lot about taking the principles that you believe in. one of the things that republicans like to do is we like to talk about let's cut spending and taxes. let's say you're a single mom living in and why does limited government spending make your life better? republicans don't really tell the second half of that story and i think getting that message across is absolutely critical to
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the future success of the party. >> we are getting a lot of views, in fact, reince priebus, the chair of the rnc is in new york today for post-election listening to donors and politico says, quote, two donors described it as a vent session, suggesting bundlers what went wrong but what they think the problems were. as they talk to bundlers, they are getting an earful. >> certainly. because people spent money and expected the republican party to be successful. this happens for every party that loses an election but just trying to fix some of the apparatus problems in running a campaign won't necessarily fix the republican party's problem. i think when we're looking for leadership of the republican
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party, that's in the hands of john boehner and the policies that he's negotiating with president obama over the next two years before there's another presidential election that begins. the republican party is going to be looking to john boehner to carry its flag. >> well, if boehner is carry the flag, kristen, today his counter proposal said we're going to protect the rich, not give a tax cut, and he put social security and cutbacks and entitlements and seniors on the table. how is that going to help them when all polls show that americans overwhelmingly won't support that. >> i disagree about all polls showing that. i think you've got a lot of folks concerned about the solvency of the entitlement programs. let's take a look. let's not leave anything off the table in terms of looking at both medicare and medicaid and social security. you also have the question of is there a way for you to increase revenue, even if it's revenue that is primarily coming from the wealthiest americans without changing the rates themselves.
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i think that's what republicans are trying to do with this most recent offer. >> but to increase revenues where everyone puts in but the wealthy is what helps lose the last election. we're not talking about put everything on the table and see where it goes. he specifically says, let's cut here and let's protect this. >> it's keeping all of the rates as they currently are. it's no question that the wealthy sort of have an advantage when it comes to the tax code because they have the resources to go hire a bunch of complex and broken tax system that we have whereas sort of regular folks it's tough to be able to navigate all of these many deductions. so as we take a look at what deductions can be on the table,
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i mean, there are some that the wealthy take advantage of more than other folks. those are the deductions where we can begin looking at to get some revenue without changing the rates themselves. >> all right. i'm going to have to leave it there. i would argue the tax be rate but we'll leave it there. erin, always good to have you and we will have both of you back. coming up, why is paul ryan giving money to a fox news employee? we'll report and you decide on this one. and the stars were out in washington last night. we've got the best lines from the kennedy center honors. you'll want to see this. >> was he a talk show host or some midwestern goon who was a little bit off? well, here we are 32 years later and time has proven that there's
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straight face? meantime, over in wisconsin, a voter i.d. law was rejected by the courts but today the incoming assembly speaker was asked if it would be worth changing the constitution. he replied, quote, yes, i would favor that. over in north carolina the president of a conservative group ask preand that governor pat mccrory will sign, will establish a photo i.d. law like last year. like i said on election night, the fight goes on. they will keep coming but we'll be ready. we've come too far to stop fighting for our voting rights now. i gave birth to my daughter on may 18th,
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you may not know frank luntz's name but you definitely know his work. he was the pollster behind newt gingrich's lie of the year in 2010 and as a fox contributor, he's a fox news regular. >> pollster frank lentz, thank you for joining me. >> a focus group of undecided voters. >> thank you and we look forward to seeing you and your brand new show. >> he's such a regular that they joke he's getting the show. but the joke is on anyone who thinks he's someone who can give you a view you can trust. media matters reports that luntz, who is also a cbs political analyst, was a paid consultant for paul ryan. his firm got $40,000 from ryan's congressional campaign this fall.
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but fox didn't see it as a conflict. they let luntz run a focus group on ryan's debate. >> let's do this. i want to do a phrase first to describe paul ryan's performance tonight. let's start in the back. shawn began this by talking about biden's interrupting and occasional laughing. did you guys see that? was it obvious to you? >> i will tell you what is obvious, his agenda. wonder why he's praising the ad. >> there's an ad that we tested a week ago. it's one of the best ads of the week ago. >> it's no surprise fox guest pushing agenda but now we have a contributor getting paid from a candidate and the conflicts of interests are all over the
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place. this is a political outfit that affects what happens inside the party. joining me now is aaron bola are rte. senior fellow and joe madison, nationally syndicated radio host for the power. thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> eric, secretly receiving money, be you reported that story. what is your reaction? >> media matters broke this story and it's painful to look at the facts. i mean, here's what is supposed to be a news analyst and he's getting paid to say how great even paul ryan is doing. and -- >> and being paid by the cam bank. >> and being paid $20,000 a month. you showed the focus groups that he was running. people who thought that mitt romney was going to win in landslide are the people who watched frank luntz's focus
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groups. so you can't -- when it comes to conflict of interest, the simple rule is to disclose everything. your transparency. you forget what your conflicts of interests are. fox had him running these focus groups. >> now, joe, we're dealing here now with not somebody's opinion, that's fine, but somebody dealing with candidates that are telling people that they are objective. >> you can look up the definition and he would fit the definition perfectly.
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fox news and most people know this is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the republican party and i'm not the first to say that. and i think the other thing that we should point out is because they do not have an honest policy. look, most news organizations have a policy that if there is a conflict or a potential conflict or you are a paid consultant or whatever, you announce that so people know who is delivering the message. fox doesn't care about who is delivering the message. what they are trying to do, they were trying to impact the outcome of the election and you know what, they deserve what they have gotten. they had misinformation, they mislead the public, made them think that romney was even steven with barack obama and the reality is today when i
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interviewed the first lady, she said they had volunteers not only people standing in line to vote but, get this, they had volunteers standing in line to get into the campaign offices to volunteer. >> now, media matters also reporting that several fox contributors criticize president obama without disclosing that they add advised the romney campaign. >> this was an ongoing problem. a lot of conflict of interest problems. people appearing on fox news who were advising the campaign and not disclosing it. i guess -- i don't know if you watch fox news, i you assume everybody that is on is in the romney campaign, wall street journal also rupert murdoch like fox news, column after column acontributors attacking the obama administration never explaining that they were advising the romney campaign.
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there has to be transparency and if you're getting paid cash by a candidate or advising a campaign, you have to disclose that. >> jon huntsman criticized big players in the gop saying that just concerned were getting on fox. he said, i looked down the debate stage and half of them were probably on fox contracts at one point in their career. you do that, you write some books, go out and sell some more, you get a radio gig or tv gig out of it or something, you say to yourself, the barriers of entry to this game are pretty damn low. >> you not only write some books but in some cases they buy the books. these organizations and think tank. and they do this. they will buy books and actually give them away, therefore, driving up the sales of the books. they get on a list and people think that they have honestly
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sold books to individuals all over the country. look, they are not a journalistic be organization. and i know what people will now e-mail me and say. well, they are number one. they are number one. number one doesn't necessarily mean that you are the best and particularly the best at being an honest, transparent, journalistic organization. they may say msnbc leans this way and leans that way. but at least you have a policy that announces who works for who, who does what for who, and that way people know what they are getting. >> and not around candidates. erin, joe madison, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. up next, a big night in washington and a big tradition to honor some great american legends. that's next. joe comes in a paper cup at the drive-thru.
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we close tonight celebrating some living legends. last night the kennedy center with the honors given a lifetime of contribution for american culture. this year honorees include can the ballerina who escaped soviet russia, dust stin hoffman, davi letterman, and grammy award winning blues man and led zeplin, the legendary rock and roll band. prior to the show, president obama hosted the honorees and offered some humor. >> we've got buddy guy sitting next to dustin hoffman. we've got dave letterman alongside one of the greatest
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ballerinas of all time. i don't think dave dances. there's no smooth transition from ballerina to led zeplin. we do not have video of this. but there was some hotel rooms trashed. and it's fitting that we're doing this in a room with windows that are about three inches thick. >> the night was filled with performances and heartfelt congratulations. it was a star-studded night. hillary clinton taking this picture with meryl streep. >> you want to win the world series. do you quit, 1-0? no. you keep going. you keep going. do you quit when you're done 1-0 in debates?


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